February 9, 2019
"Seek the Remedy for a Lack of Power"
As I walked up to the doors of our church I heard our security system beeping. I could tell that it wasn't the sound it makes when the alarm has sounded. It was some other signal. As I went inside to shut off the system I noticed an unusual message on the keypad - the word "bat". I was wise enough to know it wasn't trying to tell me that a flying mammal had invaded our building. Neither was it instructing me to find a baseball bat to use to protect myself against some intruder. I realized it was a warning that a battery in the system was running low. I called someone at the security company who helped me figure out that it was our back-up battery which needed to be replaced. She told me that too many people neglect that warning about the lack of power. If we were to let it go too long, it could cause more serious issues.
Unfortunately I believe many of us in the Church tend to ignore a similar warning or at least fail to take action in connection with it. We sense the lack of power in the Church today. We see that we're not living up to how the Bible depicts the Body of Christ. We see the example of supernatural power at work in the Church in the book of Acts. We read the promises God gives to His people about possessing a mighty power to live holy lives and to overcome evil in the world. We hear Jesus' words about His followers doing even greater things than He did. Then we look at ourselves, our fellow believers, and the Church as a whole and wonder why we're not experiencing such power today. If we're honest, our church system is beeping and warning us that there's a power problem.
However, even when some of us recognize that there's a problem in this area, too often we're not willing to acknowledge and accept the remedy. A prominent author of a book I've been reading rightfully diagnoses this ailment of the lack of power in today's Church. His resulting prescription focused on prayer and faith, which are certainly factors. Nevertheless he neglects to point to the main source of power the Bible emphasizes - being baptized with the Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them as He did on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2). As we see in the lives of those disciples after Pentecost, it was a power to be bold witnesses for Christ, to do great things in His name, and to live victoriously over sin and evil.
Don't mistake this for being "born again." This is referring to a subsequent experience that all believers need. It wasn't just a one-time event ushering in a new era or a new way the Holy Spirit would begin to work. Peter indicated that this promise of the Spirit was for all believers, including those in future generations (Acts 2:39).
Some might say, "But I'm not a Pentecostal" or "That doesn't coincide with what my church teaches." Hadn't we best be more concerned with what the Bible teaches than with our church's tradition? I'm not really a Pentecostal either, but I believe we need what the disciples' experienced in Acts 2.
The warning is sounding. God's power is lacking in the Church today. If we ignore it or refuse to seek the remedy, we do so at our peril and at the peril of a lost world that needs to see some Spirit-empowered followers of Christ. Therefore seek to be baptized with the Spirit and to receive the needed power.